Tag Archives: brandy

Why It’s Better to Use Wooden Barrels in Brandy Production

Why It’s Better to Use Wooden Barrels in Brandy Production

This practice is normal when it comes to wine and hard liquors. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that some distilleries are switching to cheaper barrels, in order to save money in the production. Also, what makes them so positive about this is the amount of space they can save. In addition, with some modern techniques, anyone can fake the wood scent, feel, and color to the drink. When it comes to brandy, I can’t agree with using shortcuts at all. These are some features that can’t be masked, at least not from someone with a vast knowledge and respect towards this type of spirit.


The first thing anyone feels right upon the opening. If the brandy was not in a wooden barrel for some time, its nature won’t allow it to have that well-balanced smell. One side of the drink will take over, and usually, that’s alcohol. If your brandy reeks of alcohol it won’t be pleasant for drinking for sure.


You can notice this right from the bottle. Brandy which is kept inside of a glass or metal container can’t adopt that rich amber color. Even with the oak stick trick the drink can’t soak enough like from the whole wooden barrel.


Once it’s poured into the glass, you can notice that the stream is too transparent, or even worse, water-like. When brandy spends enough time inside of the wooden barrel, it becomes honey-like. You can clearly see the way liquid mixed with the sugar. This is what makes the brandy perfect!


The container where the brandy lies before it’s bottled affects the taste in a similar way it affects its smell. The drink simply gets that sterile taste, or in some cases, it takes the taste of the container. This way, the whole point of the drink is lost, and the whole process of making goes down the drain. It is almost impossible to feel the fruit from the brandy.


One of the main factors to a good overall of one brandy is in its age. When the drink spends enough time in a nice oak barrel, each fragment of it can rest and express itself fully. Last, but not least, maturation process gives that specific note which classifies and marks that drink as THE ONE.

Try Something New – Banana Brandy

Try Something New – Banana Brandy

Over the centuries people have experimented a lot with different plants, fruits, and cereals all in order to indulge their desire for a one-of-a-kind drink. These innovations brought us what we know today as wine, beer, whiskey, brandy, etc. But, residents of one village in Serbia had another idea when it comes to making good quality liquor and tried bananas in the traditional slivovitz-making process. The outcome, totally original spirit with high quality.

The pioneer in this venture was Zlatko Sremcevic,  a man with a good background when it comes to slivovitz production. One day he realized that he could get tons of overripe bananas for a minimal investment and try distilling them into brandy. The outcome was surprising and a trend-setter in Budjanovci, his village.

It’s well known that slivovitz can be made from anything with a high percentage of sugar. After Zlatko’s venture, many have started trying out new fruits in their production. But, his original idea showed the greatest results. The first time he made banana brandy he used around 700 liters of banana husk, which turned into 90 liters of brandy. The alcohol percentage was a bit over 40 degrees which are almost industry’s standard. When it comes to taste, it’s really something! The scent of this exotic fruit is present, but not too hard, making the brandy easy to drink. Aftertaste brings that banana flavor again, which makes this brandy a great digestive.

If you somehow get the chance try this brandy, I highly recommend it. It is quite tasty, and it can be suitable for the ladies as well. Among his friends, its called a “Monkey Brandy”, so you’ll get a dose of humor with your spirit. No matter what your preferred taste is, this is truly an inspiring brandy, worth of mentioning, and of course trying.

How to Make Your Brandy Mature Faster

How to Make Your Brandy Mature Faster

It’s well-known fact that every drink gets its full taste and quality after years of maturing inside of barrels. Some drinks like wood more, while some prefer metal or glass. In both cases, this maturing process helps any drink gain in taste, color, texture and of course originality. Sometimes, especially in mass production, there is not enough time for the drink to mature well. But, there are some techniques that help producers speed up this process.

First and foremost none of these methods can’t be harmful to the consumers! Secondly, the methods used can’t drastically change the nature of the spirit. If you are into making good brandy, especially slivovitz, these few will help you with its maturing process.


The basic way the most distilleries use is simple mixing of two brandies. Freshly distilled one is left to rest for at least six weeks, and after that is mixed with equal amount of old, well-colored and mature brandy. The barrels are rolled around for few hours, so the brandies can blend perfectly. The is applicable for both colored and transparent brandies. The only difference is the barrel material. For colored you should use wooden and for transparent glass barrels.

Express Maturing

A bit unconventional method, but it’s working. The fruit that is used for the destination is frozen and then defrosted in a microwave until it lets out the juice. That juice is added into the barrel. This juice will increase the intensity of taste, and improve the color of the brandy.

Oak Stick

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it serves the purpose. The stick is first laid inside the 0,5% solution of sodium hydroxide for three days. Afterward, it’s put into the 0,5% solution of potassium permanganate, also for three days. When this is done, the stick is tanned on the fire and put inside the barrel. After only five to six months you’ll have a well-matured brandy.

Honey for the Honeys

Honey for the Honeys

Brandy production is a usual thing in the Balkan area. The people are doing it for centuries, and it’s quite rooted in the culture of each nation there. Usually, the men would distil fruits in the fall, gather around the batch and tell stories while drinking fresh or old brandy. With time, this practice changed and the girls got involved it the whole story. That’s how we got some pretty smooth, but still strong brandies over the last few decades.

The most famous brandy that is delicate for the women in Balkan is brandy with honey. This came out of nowhere almost, and now holds one of the highest positions when it comes to sales. Because of its mild taste, but yet strong alcohol contents this type of brandy found its way everywhere, from fancy restaurants to clubs.

Usually, regular grape or plum brandy is left to rest in an oak barrel with the honey or the whole honeycomb inside. After some time, sugar from both would blend into one, increasing the intensity of taste and density. Almost every honey brandy I have tried is almost oozy, but thanks to this characteristic the richness of the taste is amplified and it stays inside of your mouth longer.

What is also interesting about this kind of brandy is its strong floral aroma. There is no alcohol odor at all, which makes it very drinkable. The best way to consume it is if it sits on ice for some time. This helps the brandy to become denser and to slide better down the throat. The feeling on the pallet is like if you take a spoon of honey, literally. Just don’t be fooled with its sweetness, because it will strike you hard after only a few shots.

A variety of honey brandies could be bought in the UK as well, so don’t hesitate and give it a try. In my opinion, it’s a great thing to serve by the pool or even heated during the long winter nights.

Elderberry – Cure and a Liquor

Elderberry – Cure and a Liquor

Staying healthy should always be one of the priorities of every modern man/woman. Over the last two decades countless programs, diets, etc. were developed in order to help us live better and longer. But, what seems to be forgotten is that simple, old-fashioned principle of how to stay in shape and to look for a better tomorrow. Also, most of this modern method are not meant for pleasure, which takes all the fun from it.

My grandfather always had a glass of wine or a shot of brandy each day, and he lived way longer than I think I’ll live. The alcohol doesn’t have to be bad necessarily. The secret is in the way is consumed. Also, it can be used as a medication as well. What came to some genius’s mind is to combine one of the most healthier plants with alcohol and make a brandy out of it, elderberry brandy!

Elderberry‘s use is versatile. First of all, it cleanses the blood cells and respiratory system. Secondly, it’s helping the organism to stay well-protected from any outside attacks. Juice made out of elderberries is quite famous and on top of that, very tasty. When I heard about the brandy made from them, I was simply delighted.

At first, it doesn’t look anything special. Just a clear liquor, something like vodka. But once you pop the cork you can feel the delight. The smell is the same as from juice or syrup. The texture, on the other hand, is not, since it’s transparent, and not that dense. But, what is very interesting that even with alcohol it still contains all the healthy features of elderberry. It takes around 30 pounds of the ripe elderberry to produce one liter of the brandy, but it’s worth it. The taste is very rich, both in terms of alcohol and the aroma. It runs smooth to your stomach and you can feel refreshment once it’s down.

The production of this brandy is still not that massive, but you can buy it in the UK if you know where. I highly suggest it to the healthy-oriented person who knows how to drink. It’s not that hard, so it’s great for the ladies as well.

Buy Brandy Online UK: Customs Charge

3 Things You Should Know About How To Avoid Duty When Buying Spirits From Abroad To UK


In tastebrandy.com we deal with international parcels delivered worldwide every day. A significant portion of our parcels is delivered to the customers in the UK. UK has the third highest excise duty rate in the EU (right after Sweden and Ireland) and our UK customers understand that if they buy their favourite fruit brandy on tastebrandy and receive it uncharged, they had a very good bargain.


Very often, the price of the whole brandy is smaller than the UK  excise duty itself. We assist our buyers every day advising them how to avoid UK customs duty. This text is part of our „manual“.



2-3 bottles are usually not charged by HMRC.

Although each drop of alcoholic spirit should be charged if the parcel arrives from a non-EU country, HMRC has the instruction not to charge parcels if the charged amount is too small. They can’t afford to charge every single parcel. So many parcels every day… And HMRC has its internal targets…



Avoid couriers! Courier parcels have a completely different regime of customs inspection. If you order your brandy to be delivered by courier service to UK (Fedex, TNT, DHL), it will be delivered in 2-3 business days. Really fast! But you have to be aware you will be charged VAT, excise duty and administrative cost. If the brandy arrives from a country that is not a candidate for EU membership, customs duty as well will be charged. All of this can be as high as 150% of what you already paid for the brandy and the shipping. Totally opposite to the postal parcels, courier parcels have no exemptions: every drop of spirit is charged.

So, we suggest you to use courier delivery only if you really need it fast (expecting guests for the weekend, forgot that your grandpa has birthday in 3 days…), but be ready to pay for the speed.

Our experience shows that 89.7% of our customers would wait longer for its parcel if there4 would be no customs charges.



It happens sometimes that the parcel arrives in UK without customs declaration, invoice and other documents that were supposed to be attached to the parcel. Only the recipient’s name. HMRC Officers will open the parcel, examine its contents and determine the eventual customs charges. Since UK Customs Officers don’t know what is the price of the brandy from your parcel in Serbia and at what price you bought it, they will take as the basis for charging- their own catalogue values. Which means: you will be charged as if you bought the brandy in the UK. We all know that UK brandy prices are at least half higher than prices of the brandy in Serbia. But they simply have no other way to determine the value.

This is the reason why we always put one copy of the invoice inside the parcel. Because, the postmen always claim it’s not their fault.

If you order your brandy from any other web shop outside of UK or EU, ask the sender to attach one extra copy of the invoice to the parcel. The paper’s not that expensive as the postmen’s sloppiness.


Based on 5 years experience of plum brandy slivovitz mail delivery business from Serbia.